BOSTON (CBS) – More than 1,000 dead people received welfare benefits in Massachusetts recently, according to a new report from the state auditor.

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The audit of the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) released Tuesday “identified 1,164 cases where recipients continued to receive a total of $2.39 million in benefits from six to 27 months after they were reported to be deceased.”

The report also noted that in “a majority of sampled cases, store purchases and ATM transactions were made after the recipients’ dates of death, suggesting that unauthorized persons were using public benefits.”

The welfare agency was also criticized for weak security with blank Electronic Benefit Cards (EBT cards).

State auditor Suzanne Bump wants the DTA to set up better procedures to monitor the use of the EBT cards both for welfare recipients and retailers.

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The audit found that five regional offices “could not provide documentation that accounted for over 30,000 cards.”

As a result of the audit, the DTA has developed a 100-day action plan to make changes and vows to work more closely with the auditor’s Bureau of Special Investigation.

“DTA provides invaluable assistance to some of our most vulnerable citizens,” Bump said. “The integrity of DTA’s programs and operations are vitally important to taxpayers and clients alike.”


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WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports